47 Informative Facts About The Vatican City

Last updated on January 17th, 2018

Vatican City, officially Vatican City State is a country located within Rome. By both area and population, it is the smallest state in the world. With these facts about the Vatican City, let us explore more about its history, geography, economy, people, and more…

1. The Vatican City – 0.44 km² is the smallest country in the world. Monaco – 2 km², Nauru – 21 km², Tuvalu – 26 km², San Marino – 61 km², Liechtenstein – 160 km², Marshall Islands – 181 km², Saint Kitts and Nevis – 261 km², Maldives – 300 km², and Malta – 316 km² are among the top ten smallest countries in the world.

2. Officially, the Vatican City is known as the Vatican City State or State of Vatican City.

3. It is located within the city of Rome, Italy.

4. The city-state is ruled by the bishop of Rome – The Pope.

5. The Vatican City is different from the Holy See. The Holy See is the universal government of the Catholic Church.

6. The Vatican City came into existence in 1929 after the Lateran Treaty signed between Italy and the Holy See.

7. The city is famous for some of the world’s most popular paintings and sculptures that exist in the cultural sites such as St Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Museums.

8. The economy of the country is supported by the sale of postage stamps, tourist mementos, the entry fee for museums, the sale of publication etc.

The Flag of the Vatican City

Flag of the Vatican City
The Flag of the Vatican City. Description: two vertical bands of yellow (hoist side) and white with the arms of the Holy See, consisting of the crossed keys of Saint Peter surmounted by the three-tiered papal tiara, centered in the white band; the yellow color represents the pope’s spiritual power, the white his worldly power. Image credit – CIA

9. The name of the country was first used on 11 February 1929 when the Lateran Treaty was signed. The name of this tiny country was adopted after the name of Vatican Hills.

10. The official Italian name of the city is Stato della Citta del Vaticano.

11. The country uses Italian and Latin as their preferred languages.

12. The Vatican City has a two-mile border with Italy. The city is 1/8th the size of Ney Work’s Central Park.

13. The country is governed by absolute monarchy; the pope is the head of the state.

14. The city-state mints its own Euro, has its own post office, telephone system, flag, national anthem, and also issues passports and license plates.

15. Benito Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty on behalf of the King Victor Emmanuel III.

16. Just for the sake of comparison, learn that the area of the Vatican City is 44 hectares while that of Rome is 128500 hectares and that of Italy is 30133800 hectares. Now you know how big is the Vatican City.

17. Did you know that there exist only two countries in the world that do not have laws for divorce? One is the Philippines and the other is the Vatican City.

Map of the Vatican City

18. The Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church; it is the home of the Pope and home to ancient Roman structures.

19. The first railway station was opened in the country in 1930 soon after its formation. However, the station is used for transporting freight and not passenger travel.

20. The Vatican City is the only country in the world which is also a UNESCO Heritage site.

21. In 2007, the country opted to become a carbon-neutral country by agreeing to create a forest in Hungary. The fate of the proposed forest is unknown, however.

22. The Vatican Museums are 9 miles long and they have plenty of art and paintings available in them, which is one of the largest collections of art in the world. Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century.

23. St. Peter’s Basilica is the world’s 2nd largest Christian Church after the Yamoussoukro Basilica in Cote d’Ivoire. It took 120 years to complete the church and the dome of the church was designed by Michelangelo. It is 400 feet tall and 138 feet in diameter. The church is built in 18000 square yards.

24. St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest Catholic Church in the world.

25. Italians, instead of paying to the Italian government, can donate 8% of their taxes to the Vatican City. This helps the Vatican City meet its expenses.

26. The country does not have GDP because it does not produce items for trade.

27. Pope John Paul II suffered an assassination attempt in the Vatican City on May 13, 1981. Interestingly, he pardoned the person who attempted to kill him.

28. The Vatican City has one of the highest crime rates in the world. This is mainly because of the small population of the country. However, the crimes that happen in the city are of little importance and thus many of them remain unsolved. This tiny country, however, does not have a working prison and has only one judge. Thus, those who are convicted are simply marched to neighboring Italy. 

29. The 100% population of the city-state is Catholic.

30. The Vatican City owns an advanced telescope in Arizona, U.S.

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